Nissan V8 Swapping a 1996 SN95 Mustang. Have I lost my mind?

TJ Rebuild

Member
Feb 14, 2021
10
5
13
27
Chattanooga
About 6 months ago I came up with the wild idea to Nissan V8 swap a 1996 Mustang.

My daily driver is an 07 Nissan Titan 4x4 with around 150k. As I have been driving it I have noticed a noise occurring in the front of the truck that sounds like a bearing going. It is most noticeable when city driving at 45-55 mph when the truck shifts to OD without much load. I was having trouble determining if it was my front diff bearings going or my trans/torque converter going. Both of these would be expensive, in-depth fixes that would require a ton of technical ability/tools. I found a truck being sold in an auto auction that had been crushed by a tree. The tree landed on the driver seat and only damage the cab, bed and the steering column. My plan was to pull the trans, front diff, tires and some other bits for my truck and scrap the mangled body.

At the same time I was gifted the 1996 mustang from my parents after quite a bit of pestering on my part. The car is a v6 auto with northern rust so it needed a ton of work. My mom bought this car to drive after her 98 explorer bit the dust with only 100k. #4.0SOHCProblems :O_o: I drove the stang a bit in high school but it had sat for the past few years and didn't start anymore. The price/scarcity of a 5.0 these days is the reason I was open to the Nissan swap. I tried to find a wrecked v8 SN95 to pull the drivetrain from but I wasn't able to snag one for a good price.

This is where I came up with the idea to pull the Titan Engine from the wrecked truck and put it in the mustang. Doing research I've discovered that the NATS system on Titans is quite intensive so I figured I would completely gut the mustang and pull the entire engine/trans/engine harness/body harness and steering column from the wrecked truck and put it all in. Can't have security problems if I swap over everything, right? Well, yes but no... Here is where it gets interesting. I mentioned the tree fell on the driver seat and smashed the steering column. For this reason I assume the insurance company didn't think getting the key from the owner was important so I never ended up getting the key for it. Rookie mistake. :shrug: When I got the truck I was so excited to cut the truck up and scrap the body to make more space in my garage that I didn't have a key made before doing so. Hindsight is 2020 I guess. Luckily I got in touch with a locksmith that was willing to cut me a key and then come back later to program it to the harness/bcm after I finish the swap project. I figured others might be interested in the project so I have actually started a YouTube channel documenting the process thus far. My first videos are a bit lacking as its the first time I tried anything like this but they are getting rapidly better due to the addition of better equipment and know-how. You can search "TJ Rebuild Mustang" if you're interested. I have a video of me tearing the truck apart as well.

Pics below of the car and the donor truck. Let me know if you have any questions or comments on the build!

mustang.JPG IMG_0897.jpg smashed.jpg GOPR6340.JPG IMG_0949.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
  • Sponsors(?)


MattMan02GT

Active Member
Jul 24, 2018
111
8
28
33
Albany, NY
Seems like a neat project and a way to stay sane during a pandemic. Those Nissan 5.6's and the Titan's would dust other half tons when they came out. They're a very peppy motor and sound great when they put down the power.

I'm just happy to see another mustang lose a V6 and gain a V8! How far along are you in the swap? If a modular 4.6 fits I'm assuming that 5.6 does okay? How about the trans in the trans tunnel?
 

EdMac67

New Member
Nov 8, 2018
15
1
3
65
Poulsbo, Wa
Hey, it's not a GT, or an extremely rare and valuable model, so what's the harm? Just think of all the SBC V8's in Ford hot-rods of the past.

You'll certainly learn a whole bunch about swaps and who knows, in the future, you may do more swaps and perhaps install a real engine (i.e. FORD!) into a Mustang!

Harrr Harrr! :jester:

Keep up the good work and let the updates flow!

p.s. if that "Exploder" is still hanging around, it could be a good source of a disc brake posi rear for your swap. IDK how the V6 rear diff will hold up to the torque of that mighty Nissan V8. BTW I've owned lots of Datsuns/Nissans in the past, and my "not the Mustang" vehicle is a '98 Frontier King Cab, great truck.
 

TJ Rebuild

Member
Feb 14, 2021
10
5
13
27
Chattanooga
Seems like a neat project and a way to stay sane during a pandemic. Those Nissan 5.6's and the Titan's would dust other half tons when they came out. They're a very peppy motor and sound great when they put down the power.

I'm just happy to see another mustang lose a V6 and gain a V8! How far along are you in the swap? If a modular 4.6 fits I'm assuming that 5.6 does okay? How about the trans in the trans tunnel?
Yeah the V6 just wouldn't cut it without major engine work and the 2v Mod motors weren't much of an improvement in N/A form. The nissan motor is roughly the same footprint as a 4.6 although that motor is still a pretty tight fit.

I had to pick up a hydroboost as the stock brake booster was not going to fit but luckily the 96-98 gt's came with these from the factory (for the same reason) I think I am going to use a gt P.S. pump mated to a custom bracket as the nissan P.S. pump wouldnt clear the frame. I'll have to put it in place of the A/C compressor for now. I have to machined out the center of the nissan P.S. pulley to press onto the mustang pump as the nissan pulley bolts on. I picked up a set of factory P.S. lines and I'm running the factory steering rack. I'm planning to modify the nissan steering column to accept the mustang steering shaft u-joint. This should be fairly easy and that way I can use the stock nissan wiring harnesses (minus the HVAC controls). I have the engine and trans mounted in the car. I had to cut the trans tunnel to get the trans to fit. I need to remake the motor mounts to drop the trans even lower. I was waiting until I got the trans installed, steering in place, and exhaust to determine the motors final position. I cut the cats off the factory manifolds so I could change the angle they are welded due to the mustang being narrower than the truck. My end goal would be to put a manual trans in it (probably from a 370z) but I need to get it finished and driving first.

The nissan harness can be a pain because of the security system lol. Hopefully this won't be an issue as I'm bringing the whole ensemble. I am close to the point of being able to try to start it. I will probably need the locksmith to recode the key to the bcm but he has been super easy to deal with. I'm excited to have the car up and running again. You can't argue that the mustang is a good looking car!

I will certainly have to swap the rear end or have the original built. My parents do still have the explorer actually (lol). Any idea what would be involved in swapping axles? Are the mounts differrent?
 

EdMac67

New Member
Nov 8, 2018
15
1
3
65
Poulsbo, Wa
This is a pretty informative post on the 8.8 Explorer swap:


I didn't think it was that complicated, turns out the "Exploder" has a staggered "punkin" whereas the driver's side driveshaft tube is longer than the passenger's side. This causes problems when used in a vehicle (i.e. Mustang) that had a centered rear end. The solution is to cut, shorten, and reweld the driveshaft tube so it's the same length as the passenger side, then you can use 2 passenger-side axles. Plus I'd expect you'd have to cut the existing mounts and weld on ones compatible to the SN95. Piece of cake, eh? Well, probably easier than swapping-in a Nissan truck engine!

Might be simpler to find a later-model SN95/New edge GT 3rd-member with disc brakes. I expect there are a lot of them rattling around wrecking yards. Pull up the wrecking yard database www.car-part.com and you'll find lots of hits.

On the other hand, the Exploder rear is free! If you know a good welder/fabricator, it's not a horrible job to shorten one side and weld on the correct mounts. Plus AFAIK most of the 8.8 Exploders have 3.73 gears ratio, which is Sweet!
 

EdMac67

New Member
Nov 8, 2018
15
1
3
65
Poulsbo, Wa
Here's some good info on the 8.8 Explorer rear:


This guy installed an Explorer 8.8 in his Ranger. The stock Ranger diff is staggered, too, so he didn't have to worry about shortening one side.

There are lots of good pics and specs for the 8.8, a good read.

This is quite an informative article as well: https://www.vintage-mustang.com/thr...-swap-an-explorer-8-8-i-can-tell-you.1085018/

As an alternative, if you could find an '03 or '04 Mach 1 rear end, it'll have 3.55 gear ratio, limited slip, and disc brakes. Perfect!
 

7991LXnSHO

wanna catch the space herp
10 Year Member
Sep 1, 2010
5,394
1,740
194
Kearney, NE
If fixing the Nissan is beyond your abilities, I wonder if the swap is too much. How about fixing your truck with the donor, then find a 5.4 Ford that might come closer to bolting in and being compatible?
 

TJ Rebuild

Member
Feb 14, 2021
10
5
13
27
Chattanooga
If fixing the Nissan is beyond your abilities, I wonder if the swap is too much. How about fixing your truck with the donor, then find a 5.4 Ford that might come closer to bolting in and being compatible?
I may have overstated the problem with my truck in the first post. It has a vibration but it's not as bad as half of the uber's I get into (lmao). The truck is still fine and driveable, I just have noticed something that could be a major issue in 20k. And it's not that I couldn't swap a trans or a front diff, I'm just hesitant to throw a bunch of money at a truck with 150k unless Im 100% I know the issue
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
20,321
6,890
203
polk county florida
While I'm not advocating for this, it's not my car or money. Very few swaps that are this miss matched are completed for whatever reason, I know it is doable but again the odds are against it.
I will cheer you on and I hope this goes the distance.
Good luck.
 

MustangIIMatt

Easy there, this ain't a dating site.
15 Year Member
Mar 7, 2002
8,680
4,165
224
While I'm not advocating for this, it's not my car or money. Very few swaps that are this miss matched are completed for whatever reason, I know it is doable but again the odds are against it.
I will cheer you on and I hope this goes the distance.
Good luck.
Meh, he's already made it fit, now he's just got to make it run.
 

LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
15 Year Member
Dec 6, 2005
3,311
2,522
174
49
Marietta, Ga
It'll be fun to see completed.

The trick is to keep your motivation at the same level as your ambition. :nice:
 
  • Agree
Reactions: 1 user